Education/School Tours


Education on Board Sam Patch

Education is at the heart of Corn Hill Navigation's mission. We are committed to lifelong learning about the Erie Canal and Genesee River -- their history and impact on the nation, present development, and future promise. Each year, thousands of young people, as well as learners of all ages, experience American history on the Erie Canal firsthand through our on-board cruises and education programs.

We offer live, on-board narratives on every cruise. Additionally, we provide on-board field studies for school groups and home schools, as well as scout, camp, recreation, and other youth groups. Many programs are also popular for birthday parties. Imagine your students exploring our nation's cultural heritage, history, technology, natural science, and more from the unique vantage point of the waterways that have so powerfully influenced life in our region and our nation!

We understand that elementary, middle, and high school students benefit from experiential field studies that are fun, educational, and long-remembered. Cruising experiences are long-remembered because they:

  • engage young people and all of their senses.
  • enable young people to imagine and wonder.
  • provide links between what is learned in classrooms and how a young person thinks about the world and views his/her place in it.
  • enable young people to interpret national history in their own community.
  • are relevant and help build critical thinking skills and educated future citizens.


Please explore the Education/School section of this website to choose your program and plan your trip from the School Tours and Education Programs. Contact us with any questions, for more information, or with feedback.

Prepare your class for their cruise utilizing our Historic Waterways Adventure Online Curriculum.


Education Programs Offered by Corn Hill Navigation:

Field Studies on-board Sam Patch packet boat replica

Teachers may create their own curriculum or choose from one of Corn Hill Navigation's New York State curriculum-based Education Charters:

Erie Canal Education Charters on-board Sam Patch

  • Depart from Schoen Place
  • Take place mornings
  • Maximum number of students: 40
  • One hour at $150, to Lock 32
  • 90 minutes at $200, through Lock 32

A live, on-board cultural heritage narrative enables students to identify compelling evidence of the past, present, and future of the canal on Sam Patch Erie Canal Education Charters. Highlights include:

  • an historic canal village and contemporary redevelopment
  • towpaths and trailways
  • wildlife and recreation
  • the modern canal and remains of the original canal bed
  • a century-old canal lock

All Erie Canal Education Charters travel through Lock 32, experiencing a 25-foot elevation change.


Planning Your Trip

Making Reservations

Advance reservations are required for all education charters and programs.

Please call 585-662-5748 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Keep in mind the maximum number of students permitted in the program you are requesting.

If possible, have more than one date in mind.


Preparing for Your Cruise

Historic Waterways Adventure Online Curriculum

A consortium of educators and historians have created a series of investigations that will prepare your students for their Erie Canal cruises – as well as for the Document-Based Questions that are part of 5th and 8th grade Social Studies Assessments. The Historic Waterways Adventure Online Curriculum enables students to examine facsimile canal-related documents and engage in learning activities that explore life on the Erie Canal. Historic Waterways Adventure Online Curriculum learning experiences:

  • replicate methods that historians use to investigate the past
  • actively engage young people in activities that build knowledge through opportunities to wonder, make inferences, and draw conclusions
  • are multi-disciplinary and explore topics ranging from: "Moving goods on the Erie Canal" to "The Canal in Winter" and "Canal Songs, Stories, Folklore and Entertainment"


What to Wear
Sam Patch has an enclosed main cabin as well as open air bows. The boat is not heated or air conditioned. It is important that students dress for the weather: jackets and coats when it is cold, rain gear when it is raining, and layers when it is hot. High heels and flip flops are not recommended for boat cruises. Shoelaces must be tied before boarding.

Safety regulations
Sam Patch is an U.S. Coast Guard inspected vessels and meet or exceed all safety standards. Life jackets for every passenger are carried on-board each vessel, and their locations will be pointed out at the beginning of each cruise. For students' safety, chewing gum, running, and shouting are not permitted during cruises. In the event of an emergency, everyone follows the Captain's orders. Crew, teachers, and chaperons should don life jackets first and then assist students.

Special needs students
Please advise us when making your reservation if you have students with special needs. We are committed to ensuring welcoming and successful learning experiences for all students who cruise on Sam Patch. Passengers enter Sam Patch via a set of four steps.



Directions, Transportation and Parking

Directions to Sam Patch's dock at Schoen Place.

Free parking for cars and buses is available adjacent to our dock.